Noren pushes clear as Bland and Johnston stumble


Alex Noren produced a blemish-free third round to move three shots clear of Richard Bland at the British Masters on Saturday.

For the second successive day, Noren carded a 65 at The Grove to head into Sunday on 16 under, while Bland could only reply with a 69 that leaves him leading the chase.

Noren's opening nine holes only saw him pick up two shots before he turned on the style on the way home - three birdies in the final four holes giving him a nice cushion.

Victory on Sunday would bring a third European Tour win of the season for Noren, a return that would be the best of his career in a single calendar year.

Bland made sure he stayed in contention on a frustrating day by picking up a shot on the 18th, his fourth birdie on a round marred by bogies at four and 12.

Peter Hanson leads a group of four players who sit a further shot adrift on -12 after a round of 66 rocketed him eight places up the leaderboard.

The Swede is joined by Bernd Wiesberger, Richard Sterne and Tommy Fleetwood, while Lee Westwood and Marcel Siem - who carded a superb 65 - are five behind Noren.

Andrew Johnston - who had been level with Noren after day two - had a disappointing day, though, as he came home in a two-over-par 73.

His day started badly with a bogey at the second and he began to fall out of contention when he dropped another shot at the sixth.

A birdie at the 11th offered some hope, but that was quickly eradicated by a double bogey at the next hole - Johnston dropping to eight under and a long way off the lead.